Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?!

"Good"

Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?! Review


There are so many plot holes in this silly British holiday sequel that the script hardly seems to exist at all. As in the previous two Nativity! movies, the emphasis is on Christmas wackiness, with inane set pieces designed only to keep small children giggling. Writer-director Debbie Isitt clearly isn't interested in connecting these scenes together into something more than vaguely coherent, asking us to just go with it. And if you can do that, you might have some fun with this.

Once again, it's all change at St. Bernadette's School in Coventry. This time there's a new headmistress in the humourless, astonishingly unobservant Mrs Keen (Celia Imrie). She sensibly sacks the dopey teaching assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton) and instead hires "super-teacher" Mr Shepherd (Martin Clunes), who immediately gets rid of Poppy's donkey, the class mascot. In the process though, Shepherd takes a blow to the head and loses his memory, which is a problem because he's due to get married to Sophie (Catherine Tate) in New York. So Shepherd's daughter Lauren (Lauren Hobbs) teams up with Poppy to get the kids into a flashmob competition that culminates with a final round in, of course, Manhattan. The problem is that the competition is being organised by Sophie's preening ex Bradley (Adam Garcia), who wants her back.

Issitt keeps the film moving at such a hyperactive pace that there's barely time to notice that nothing about this story makes any sense. But before we can say, "Wait a minute!" the film has already lurched into a corny slapstick sequence or a big musical number performed with screechy karaoke-style authenticity. Although the songs are packed with clever hooks and repeated so many times that they're impossible to get out of our heads. Oddly, the children are sidelined in this movie, appearing at random for a bit of cacophonous mayhem or another pastiche holiday number. Only Hobbs registers as a character.

Not that there's much to the characterisations. Clunes isn't quite as engaging a presence as Martin Freeman or David Tenant (in parts 1 and 2, respectively), but he dives in with gusto and seems to be enjoying the role: a tall man with big ears who dresses as an elf and can't remember anything, even Christmas. Wootton has by now mastered playing the supremely irritating Poppy, although he gets some deranged laughs this time. And Tate plays it oddly straight as a woman genuinely distraught as her lavish wedding plans go awry. There are some solid jokes amid the unfunny cheesiness, but if Isitt spent even a few hours making any of this hang together logically, Nativity! might be a holiday franchise we could look forward to.



Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey?!

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th November 2014

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 4.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Debbie Isitt

Producer: Nick Jones

Starring: as Mr. Shepherd, as Mr. Poppy, as Sophie

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